Confessions of a book-lover

At Stanford’s New Faculty Orientation lunch today, I had a lovely chat with one of our new faculty members in the social sciences. She told me that she has only been to Green Library once since she arrived on campus; and then “confessed” that she was actually just looking for a novel to read. I assured her that we expect faculty and students to use our resources for all kinds of reasons, including leisure reading, and I even made sure she knew about our extensive video collection.
She then talked about what a beautiful building it is, and how she enjoyed wandering around the stacks. Then, again in a confessional tone, she talked about how she really is a fan of physical browsing. She reassured me that she loves the ease of e-journals and other online content, but that she thinks physically wandering the aisles of the library helps her find the “hidden gems” and make unexpected connections (sounds like The Library as Mine). She said she thinks she actually used to read more broadly when she received journal issues in physical form, rather than an emailed table of contents.
None of what she said struck me a particularly novel (no pun intended); but what surprised me was how embarrassed she seemed to be to admit to a love of the physical book and the physical library. She went to great lengths to tell me how much she loved ejournals and doing online searching and research, as if to reassure me that her love of browsing and of physical books didn’t make her a luddite.
Had it really become socially embarrassing to be a book-lover? Even on a college campus?

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